Please be advised that all of the "Editor's Picks"
featured in this section are hand-selected by Elegant
Plus. Although every effort is made to keep featured
products current, retailers can sell out of popular
styles before the Editor has had an opportunity to
update the page.
Although Elegant Plus earns a
small fee on all purchases, it is a
completely free shopping resource for the
consumer, and many times we are able to
provide links that offer consumer discounts
and free shipping offers upon landing on the
partner retailer's site.
All selections are available at time of
posting and purchases can be made directly from the
retailer on the associated shopping link. All of the
shopping guides include designer selections which are
noted with the designer's name in descriptions.
Last Update: June 26, 2017
14 - 22W
Floral Print Gown
Size 0 - 36W
Avg - Petite - Tall
Lace Chiffon Gown
Size 8 - 28W
Plus-size women often prefer upper arm coverage
and are more comfortable in evening gowns
and cocktail dresses
with jackets or sleeves. This is
especially true of more mature women, but
some younger women also fall into this category.
While ideally everyone should be comfortable
with and unashamed of their body, a gala or
special event is not always the best place to
wrestle with those demons or public attitudes.
The popularity and lady-like
qualities of Kate Middleton's style is also
seeing a resurgence in sleeved styles in
formalwear, generally. Illusion sleeves
and bodices in lace or filmy chiffon are among
the most popular version. Furthermore,
cocktail dress hemlines are also dropping. The
Christmas and New Year holiday party season sees
the biggest increase in demand, but shoppers are
looking for dresses with long sleeves all year.
More conservative events such as military balls
can also see sleeved styles in demand.
Also Available in Black
Blue Bell Sleeve
Sequin Lace Dress
Size 14 - 22W
Flare Sleeve Gown
14 - 24W
Sequin Lace Chiffon
Size 16 - 24W
Some of the best designers and
labels for formalwear that include sophisticated
styles that feature sleeves include Terani, Adrianna Papell, Tadashi Shoji,
and Alex Evenings.
Less well known brands such as Komarov and
Scala are also well worth checking out. Many are available on-line, mainly
through the major department stores.
Short and cap sleeves are also
bra friendly options for warmer months. Capelet styles
can also make a solution for upper arm coverage.
Many of these are good choices for mother-of-the-bride and other wedding
cruises, office parties, and events such as gallery openings.
Classic black is still the most
popular color, but navy blue has become
increasingly available along with white, pale
tints, and deeper, richer colors such as deep red or
teal green according to
the trends of the season.
is the best resource for both sleeved dresses
and evening jacket dresses. Among others, labels
regularly included are Alex Evenings, Patra,
Tadashi Shoji, Mac Duggal, Terani Couture, J
Kara, and Jessica Howard in size 0 to 28W.
Lord & Taylor
also favors more mature styles that often have
sleeves for size 4 to 24W.
has one of the deepest collections of plus-size
cocktail dresses available on the internet with
classic to contemporary styles available with
both jackets and sleeves, in addition to barer
looks. Labels such as Adrianna Papell,
Pisarro Nights, Soul Mates, and Komarov are
popular sleeved styles here with the occasional
offering from well known formalwear designers
such as Tadashi Shoji. The women's plus
collection is available from size 14 to 24W,
while smaller full figured women can find more
options in the main collection in sizes up to
Saks Fifth Avenue
has upscale and luxury options in both
cocktail dress and long gown styles from
well-known designers such as Kay Unger and
Tadashi Shoji. Neiman
Marcus often carries sleeved
cocktail dresses and formal gowns from names
such as Marina Rinaldi, Carmen Marc Valvo,
Eileen Fisher, and Kay Unger. Smaller plus
women will also want to have a look out
on their main rack for
labels that offer sizes 14, 16, and 18.
Names to look for there include Theia, Badgley
Mischka, Rene Ruiz, Oscar de la Renta, Lela
Rose, and St. John to name a few.
has a good special occasion and formalwear
department available all year. Styles are
generally moderately priced and a mixture of
more youthful and more mature looks in size 0 to
24W. Those looking for gowns with an
Old Hollywood or vintage appeal will enjoy the
Unique Vintage. Don't let the
"Prom" designation fool you, many of these gowns
are appropriate for more sophisticated events
and more mature women. Select styles are
available as large as 5X. More
conservative, budget friendly styles are
frequently available at
in size 0 to 24W.
Direct from manufacturer website
Light in the Box
offers made-to-order formalwear styles in sizes
to 26W at deeply reduced prices. Search the
Mother of the Bride category for the best
selection. In spite of the name, some have
a more youthful appeal. For those who
enjoy cocktail dresses with a vintage flavor,
eShakti offers customizable
dresses for a small fee. Sleeve length,
hem length, and necklines can be altered to suit
different body types and tastes for size 0 to
Coldwater Creek has begun regularly
carrying a selection evening and cocktail wear
appealing to more mature destination travelers
appropriate for cruises, weddings, and other
special events for size 6 to 24W.
both carry cocktail dress styles with sleeves in
styles appealing to older women in sizes to 34W.
For more contemporary style, try
the maxi dress options at
size 10 to 32W, and the print gown from
in size 14 to 36W.
Remember both the proper undergarments and
hosiery are part of what make
formal style dresses shine.
is available to sizes 10X from select lingerie
specialists such as
Her Room, while Spanx is
some of the most popular hosiery with built in
shaping features and is regularly available from
can be either pumps or sandals, with designer styles
popular with those looking to attend gala